Greenock overcome Irvine in tense finale

Irvine vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 13th June 2015

Irvine 112 G Owens 32; JPC Hempsey 4 for 12
Greenock 1st XI 116 for 8 PC McIntosh 32; S Chaudary 4 for 22


Greenock made it four league wins in a row when they travelled to play Irvine at the Marress ground on Saturday. But once again, it was a nerve jangling finish before the Glenparkers eventually got over the line.

Chasing what on paper seemed a fairly low total, and one which should have been eminently achievable, Greenock made hard work of getting the runs needed for victory. However, that does not take into account the playing pitch at Marress which is a cricketing minefield and the Glenpark side will be relieved to have played at this venue and returned with maximum points.

Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu called correctly when the toss was made prior to the start of the match. He invited Irvine to bat and almost immediately the decision paid dividend when home side opening bat Richard Wilson was bowled by Darren Walker with the last ball of his first over and with the score on just three.

Mo Alam and Graham Owens dug in and nudged the home total along very gradually until first change bowler, Neil Flack, had Alam (15) caught by Prabhu to make the score 35 for 2 wickets in the seventeenth over.

This brought Irvine's danger man, top scoring Indian professional Sachin Chaudary to the crease and he was settling quite nicely into his innings until he fell to a very fine catch by Ben Peterson having scored just ten runs. 62 runs for 3 wickets in the 27th over.

Only a further five runs had been added when Irvine's South African amateur Chad Frans needlessly ran out Owens who was on 32 and batting well for the home side. This dismissal brought the Marress team's second highest league run scorer, Gurupreet Singh, to the middle and he and Frans had a fifth wicket stand of 23 runs before Jonathan Hempsey bowled Singh (13) with the first ball of his second over.

Irvine's batting line-up was now into the 'tail' and when Frans (14) was bowled by Blake Taylor in the first over of his second spell, followed by new batsman Stuart McCallum just two balls later in similar fashion, the home side had slumped to 100 for the loss of seven wickets.

Jonathan Hempsey then cleaned up the last three wickets with Deepak Yadav (1) caught by Sehmet Singh, Inderjit Singh (4) caught by Greg McDougall and James Doolan bowled second ball for a 'duck'.

So, after forty four overs the Marress side were all out for just 112 runs with Jonathan Hempsey returning the impressive bowling figures of 4 wickets for just 12 runs from 7 overs. Other wicket-takers for the Glenpark team were Blake Taylor 2 for 22 from 9 overs, Neil Flack 2 for 44 from 13 overs and Darren Walker 1 wicket for 20 runs from 15 overs.

As predicted in our preview, Greenock made a change to their opening batting pairing and promoted Phil McIntosh to the opening spot alongside Scotland Under-19 captain Neil Flack.

The tactic appeared successful as the visitors made a bright start to their innings with McIntosh seeming to relish his promotion to the top order spot, and after just seven overs Greenock were almost a quarter of their way to the winning line. Then in the eighth over Flack was bowled by a ball from Deepak Yadav which 'tunnelled' its way to the stumps and the Glenparkers were one wicket down for 27 runs.

McIntosh continued to score well and had four boundaries to his name when, with the score on forty four in the fifteenth over, he was adjudged LBW to a low shooting ball from Mo Alam having made a fine 32.

Indian professional Sachin Chaudary, who had been very frugal in a brief opening spell of bowling, returned to the Irvine attack, and his spin bowling, allied to the unpredictable bounce from the wicket, made a number of important breakthroughs for the home team. Aidan Forrest, Blake Taylor and Rod Mountford were all bowled by Chaudary as Greenock's middle order collapsed in all too familiar a fashion.

And with Jonathan Hempsey (6) also out bowled by Alam, the Glenparkers were in deep trouble at 62 for 6 in the 26th over and fighting to survive on a wicket on which it was proving very difficult to score runs.

Meanwhile, Shailesh Prabhu was trying to hold the innings together, and he had nursed the score to 77 when he lost his wicket caught by Yadav off the bowling of Jagdeu Singh having contributed a very valuable 21 runs.

Then Chaudary picked up his fourth wicket of the afternoon when he had Greg McDougall caught by Owens with the score on 84 for 8 and Greenock were looking in serious danger of losing the match.

However, the tables were turned when Darren Walker and Ben Peterson produced the highest partnership of the day, and in just ten overs scored the thirty plus runs needed to take Greenock to an important, but at one point perhaps unlikely, win. Walker was not out 18 and Peterson, who won the match with a boundary, was not out 16.

Sachin Choudary was Irvine's top bowler with 4 wickets for 22 runs from 15 overs, while Alam took 2 for 40, Yadav 1 for 30 and Jagdeu Singh 1 for 8.